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How to talk to someone whom you have never met? Intermediate level English.

6 years ago
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If you are afraid of speaking to someone one-to-one, then practice speaking to someone when you are in a very small group of people. Why? Because when you feel that you have nothing else to say, other people in the group will keep the conversation going.

You should also practice speaking one on one, e.g. at lunch, at business meetings, at Starbucks.
What should you speak about?
Many people speak about the situation they are both sharing at that moment, and then ask a question. Then listen, and ask an question about what the other person just said. Your questions are best if htey

E.g. Place: Standing in line at Starbucks. One-to-one conversation:

You: "This line is so long". (This is comment, which is limited complaint).
You: "Have you been waiting long?" (A question, about a shared experience. No introductions.)
Other person: "Yeah, I've been waiting about 10 minutes. (Answers the question.)
Other person: "It's not usually so crowded at this time. I'm not sure what is happening today." (Person shares a personal detail - that they come to this Starbucks often, 'at this time').
You: "Do you usually come here at this time? (Ask another question, to confirm that you were listening.)
Other person: "Yeah, this cafe is on the street where I work". (Person shows willingness to share more personal detail.)
Other person: "How about you, what is your usual time for coming here?" (Person is trying to identify additional activities you share, or that you both have in common.)"
You: "I usually come in here about 30 minutes earlier, but today, I am running late." (You continue to show a willingness to share more information."
You: "So, what do you do for a living?" (Find out if the person trusts you enough to share that detail.)
Other Person: "I am a mechanical engineer in manufacturing. And you?" (The person shares on small amount of additional information. Then asks, 'and you?')
You: "Oh, I am in the retail business". (You share a similar quantity of information. Also, remember you are standing in line (standing in a queue) at Starbucks, and the line can move forward at any time. NOW, it's time to introduce yourself.
You: " By the way, I'm Susan." (You don't have to tell someone your name. If you feel this is safe, you can do so. Many times, we might tell a stranger our names AFTER we feel we have connected well with that person.)
Other Person: "I'm Jack. Nice to meet you, Susan."
You: "Nice to meet you, Jack."
You: "Oh, I see the line is moving forward now. Perhaps I will see you again sometime."
Other Person: "Yes, I'd like that. Enjoy your coffee".
You: "Yes, you too. See you around."

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